Week 3. Lead, Kindly Light

Sunday September 8, 2013

Today, with the entire MTC Relief Society (all the sister missionaries) I watched the Mormon Tabernacle Choir broadcast, Music and the Spoken Word.  The Choir first sang the hymn Saints Bound for Glory. Then they sang Lead, Kindly Light, one of my long-time favorite hymns.  It is very dear to my heart.

Lead, Kindly Light

Lead, kindly light, amid th’ encircling gloom.

The night is dark, and I am far from home.  Lead thou me on.

Keep thou my feet, I do not ask to see the distant scene.

One step enough for me.
I was not ever thus, nor prayed that thou shouldst lead me on.
I loved to choose and see my path, but now, lead thou me on.
I loved the garish day, and spite of fears pride ruled my will.
Remember not past years.
So long thy power hath blessed me, sure it still will lead me on.
O’er moor and fen, or crag and torrent, ’till the night is gone.
And with the morn, those angel faces smile which I have loved long since,
And lost awhile.
The whole hymn is about coming closer to God and Jesus Christ and aligning our will with theirs; about how trusting in what They know is best is what will ultimately lead to happiness. I believe that with all my heart.

After they sang that beautiful hymn, there was an organ solo: Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring, another dear favorite. It seemed like the program was planned for me. It was all music that comforted me and was exactly what I needed to hear. A slide show played during Jesu, pictures of cathedrals and temples everywhere, and it made me ache to travel and see all of them!

The Spoken Word message that has stuck with me is this:

Happiness is not something that just comes to you. It is a choice. While pain and heartache are inevitable, misery is optional. Happiness is not bound by our circumstances, it is activated by our choices. I completely believe that.

Friday September 13th, 2013

My time is short, but I have so much to say. So much has happened! My companions and I started Visitors’ Center Training this last Wednesday. It’s been fantastic, challenging, inspiring, and exhausting! On Wednesday morning we traveled to Salt Lake to Temple Square and took a “tour” with some of the sister missionaries there. That was an incredible experience! It made me so excited for what I will get to be doing in just a few days! I am so happy to be able to serve in a Visitors’ Center. And, for those of you who don’t know, I have always wanted to serve on Temple Square, so having the opportunity to be there, even for a few hours, was/is so great! ESPECIALLY since this Saturday, TOMORROW (oh my goodness, where did the time go?), we are going back to Temple Square, going on splits with the sisters there (we’ll each be paired up with a sister that is already serving there and become her temporary companion).  We will actually give tours and teach! I’m simultaneously terrified and excited!

2013.9.14 Temple Square

So, my new class is all Visitors Center sisters. That’s who will be going to Temple Square with me. All 7 of us are going… to St. George!! Let me see if I can remember their names:

Sister Schaefer (mit umlaut!) is from Germany, and she will be speaking German. I try out the phrases I still remember with her and she is very patient with me. She is also an only child! So, we have bonded over that. I already love her so much!

Sister Phagwah is from Guyana, South America. She is so sweet! I haven’t gotten to know her very well, but every time she speaks in class it is something powerful and I am so grateful!

Sister Pene is from Samoa. She is a convert to the church and has the strongest testimony. She has a strong belief in and love for her Savior and is such an inspiration to me. And I love her smile!

Sister Shoemaker is from Pennsylvania!!! She’s in the York Stake and actually knows the Loski family!  Who knew?  We were in the same stake for three years and never met and now we’re serving a mission together! She is my “new companion.” For class, I am temporarily on a “transfer” and so she and I are companions. It’s all a little bit complicated, but it’s so wonderful. I love her. I have already learned so much from her and have grown in the gospel and in my ability to teach. I am so grateful for her!

My new part-time companion, Sister Shoemaker, from York, PA

The other three you already know: me (Sister Hansen), and my two original companions: Sister Liu and Sister Bolander.

Class is so much fun. We are already learning about the on-line missionary work that is happening throughout the world. We are working through mormon.org to answer chats and phone calls and basically, already be doing real missionary work! It’s so stressful but it’s so wonderful! So hey! If you’re ever on mormon.org and click the “chat with us” link, you might be talking to me! Who knows! haha I’ll write more about that next week, but suffice it to say, it is so awesome.

So, the Elders in my district are all assigned to go to Australia. HOWEVER, visas have been so hard to get!  They all had to stay an extra week. A lot of them were bummed, but they have finally received their reassignments. Two of them are going to Tallahassee, Florida, one is heading to the Montana Billings mission, one is headed to the Texas Dallas mission, and one is going to California San Jose. The last two haven’t heard anything yet! I can imagine how stressful that is but I know it’s all the the Lord’s hands.

Our District  2013.9.6 Provo MTC

Our District 2013.9.6 Provo MTC

So, I have to end this now. Time is so precious here and I have running out of time to write. But let me sum it up and say that I know that a mission is hard, but it is the best thing. The scripture verse that helped me figure out whether or not I was even going to serve, and when was Doctrine & Covenants 15:6. I’d try to quote it but I’m afraid to ruin it, so I would encourage you to look it up! But it mentions how crying repentance is the thing of most worth. That’s a big part of what I’m doing. Crying repentance. But please, don’t think that repentance is the scary, pounding on a pulpet, lightning and fire and brimstone chastisement that it always seems to mean to people. Repentance is nothing more than change. Just change. To repent is to change your behavior, and your desires. To desire to come closer to God and to become better. That’s universal. To cry repentance is to love. Missionary work is love. And it’s not about convincing people to believe what we believe. It’s about sharing what means the world to us, more than the world, and saying: This is the most important thing in my life. It means more than anything to me, and I’d invite you to learn about it and see what it could mean to you.

That’s not an easy thing to do. Fear of giving offense or invading someone’s privacy is a huge part. But it can’t be. We, as missionaries, are representatives of Jesus Christ. Our entire purpose is to extend the invitation that He extends to EVERYONE. To come unto Him. To learn of Him, to take His yoke upon us, and be comforted, relieved, etc. It’s the most beautiful message in the world.

So, here’s an invitation for all of you. Check out mormon.org. If you have questions, ask! MISSIONARIES LOVE QUESTIONS! And if you don’t already have a mormon.org profile, make one! Share what you know and love.

Also, don’t forget to do scripture study with your families! There is power in scripture study and who wouldn’t want power in their family. The family that reads/studies/prays/goes to church together stays together. I love you all so much and would love to hear from you!!

Much love,
Sister Hansen
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